PROS / This camera has a durable, well-thought-out design.
CONS / Its resolution and frame rate specs aren't competitive.
VERDICT / The Contour+2 is being outpaced by newer cams with better specs, but its physical characteristics keep it relevant for capturing outdoor adventures.
The Contour+2 is an action camcorder with average video quality and an exceptional design. Despite having been on the market for some time, the camcorder remains a surprisingly strong contender.
The image quality of the Contour+2 is about average for a new HD action cam, shooting 30 fps at 1080p, or 60 fps at 720p. You can use the 60 fps setting to achieve more detail during quick movements compared to 30 fps.
While filming 720p video at 60 fps can capture attractive footage, some of the best action cams that compete with the Contour+2 can shoot 60 fps at 1080p, which gives them a significant advantage. Shooting in 1080p, you can zoom in without dipping below the 720p high-definition threshold. This is especially apparent when you're using image stabilization software, so the ratio of frame rate to resolution is an area in which the Contour+2 lags behind the competition.
The device can shoot at up to 120 fps in 480p, which isn't up to par with the 240 fps offered by some of its competitors. However, 120 fps will still give you plenty of speed to replay actions in smooth slow motion down to about 20 percent of the original speed. Anything slower and you'll start to see a bit of jumpiness.
The strength of the Contour+2 is its design. The barrel-shaped body is made out of tough aluminum and the brushed-metal is atheistically pleasing. It comes with a clear plastic case that makes the camera waterproof to 197 feet, although the camera is weather resistant without it. The underside of the camera is compatible with the rail mounts often found on rifles, making it a favorite for soldiers recording their missions. It also has an attachment for a standard tripod mount.
The action cam uses Bluetooth to pair with your smartphone. The Bluetooth connection allows you to preview your shot and adjust settings on the camera. This is a smart design feature because the Wi-Fi used in competing camcorders drains battery faster than a Bluetooth connection. The Contour+2 has a recording time of two hours, slightly below average. Fortunately, its battery is interchangeable, so you can charge an extra one and carry it with you to extend your recording time.
One design feature unique to this device is a red laser that projects a few inches in front of the camera to help you ensure the lens is level. The lens rotates on the front of the camera, so you can mount the camera in any orientation and still have the lens facing straight on.
As with all barrel-shaped cameras, this one is easy to mount as a helmet cam. It fits on your helmet less obtrusively than if it were a brick-shaped or bullet-shaped camcorder. However, you can't use a chest or wrist mount with a barrel-shaped cam.
One feature that the Contour+2 shares with a few action cams on the market is GPS tagging. It has a GPS receiver in it, so when you're editing the video you can choose to include GPS data. This overlay can show speed, altitude and distance traveled.
Its versatile design makes the Contour+2 a good helmet cam – waterproof and aesthetically pleasing. The Contour+2 has one of the best designs on the action cam market, but its specs are outdated. It's a sign of a good product that this cam is still relevant several years after its release, but it would be even better if its specs were worthy of its design.